Quilting Gothic Arches

"Gothic Arches" is a Tula Pink design. Angela chose to use custom quilting techniques to enhance the patterns of the fabrics used in the top.

"Gothic Arches" is a Tula Pink design. Angela chose to use custom quilting techniques to enhance the patterns of the fabrics used in the top.

Kathy recently asked me to quilt this amazing top for her. The pattern is called “Gothic Arches“, by Tula Pink. Being a Tula Pink fan, Kathy also used fabrics from her “Elizabeth” line. The result is a quilt filled with bright colors and patterns. I must admit that this top intimidated me for a while. I had to hang it up on my design wall and let it talk to me for a bit before I dove in and loaded it to my Millennium.

"Gothic Arches" is a Tula Pink design. Angela chose to use custom quilting techniques to enhance the patterns of the fabrics used in the top.

This contemporary quilt really called for custom quilting. There are four different sizes of arches, and each size also has different proportions. The fabrics have interesting features, such as faces, flowers, stripes, and scalloped designs. There is so much to look at, and the quilting needed to enhance it, not dominate it.

Longarm quilter stabilized the arches by stitching in the ditch, then echoed the arches inside too.

After stabilizing the top by stitching in the ditch around the sections and the arches, I echoed the arches once. If you look at pictures of cathedral archways, they are echoed by multiple lines. In some sections, I added additional structure and motifs, keeping gargoyles and other features of Gothic architecture in mind. I also mimicked the arches by adding additional ones between the fabric arches in which I placed simple sprays with straight lines and circles. In other rows I placed stacked curls in those intermediate arches.

Longarm quilter Angela Huffma outlined Queen Elizabeth's face so that the design of the fabric did all of the talking.

Quilting within the arches was a different matter. The fabrics ranged from highly patterned like the fabric portraying Queen Elizabeth to relatively simple. I outlined the shape of the arches with a 1/2 inch echo first. Then on some of the themed motifs like the one featuring the queen, I chose to simply outline her face so that the design of the fabric did all of the talking. For the chain mail fabric that looks like stacked clamshells, I also just followed the fabric’s design lines to enhance it.

Longarm quilter Angela Huffman filled the simpler arches with motifs such as a Fleur-de-Lys

In the arches whose fabric was less elaborately patterned, I used quilting designs such as fleur-de-lys, stacked ribbon candy, or continuous-line designs. I also quilted some arches with designs that I could imagine being carved from stone to ornament various sites within a cathedral. In this way, the quilting and the fabric relate to each other through common design motifs and it serves to pull the voice of this quilt top together giving it needed unity.

Longarm Quilter Angela Huffman always kept the density of the design in mind while quilting each arch

It’s important when you’re doing custom quilting to keep the density of quilting consistent throughout the quilt. I kept this in mind as I determined the size of the quilting designs. Some had to be stretched out from their original shape and size to distribute quilting evenly throughout the quilt. Most of this quilt was done freehand.

Longarm quilter Angela Huffman carved out some of the smaller arches with a simple continuous line design.

 

Custom quilting, while time-consuming, is a great opportunity to exercise your imagination and to be creative. Give it a try on your next quilt!

Longarm quilter Angela Huffman filled the simpler arches with motifs such as a stacked curls and ribbon candyLongarm quilter Angela Huffman filled the simpler arches with motifs such as a stacked curls and ribbon candy

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